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“Out in the Middle of Nowhere”

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Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Reviewed 15 July 2008

I stayed at the Desert Gardens hotel as part of a Monograms tour by Globus. The rooms were adequate. There was only a walk in shower in the bath. They need to update the television. It was clean. You must put your room key in a slip by the door in order to have lights and air. I thought the area was a little dark and it was hard to see at night.
The resort has you captive. Make sure you have plans at night or you will be looking at four walls.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled solo
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Thank uhcoogdebi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,202 - 2,208 of 2,869 reviews

Reviewed 17 June 2008

Unfortunately if sightseeing at Ayers Rock or Uluru, you don't have much of a choice of where to stay.

It IS in the middle of the desert with NOTHING around, so you don't have a choice of a cheap hotel or setting up your tent just anywhere.

It appears that anything that is the "town" is actually the Ayers Rock Resort which includes a choice of campgrounds, and 3 levels of hotel experience, the grocery store, a couple of shops and the post office.

It is all well done when you think that it IS in the middle of the desert and that there is nothing for miles around.

The prices are outrageous for what you get, of course, since you have no choice unless you fly in and out for the day.

Accomodation in the Desert Gardens was mediocre, again with 2 double beds instead of queens and not much else to recommend it. The gardens and pool are ordinary.

Since hoards of tourists arrive and depart constantly, the lobby is constantly hectic with piles of luggage and people everywhere. Buses arrive and depart constantly too. The staff on the check- in and out desks appear harried and unfriendly.

Since we had to vacate our rooms hours before the buses came to take us away, we were promised a hospitality room to shower and change after a day in the 40C heat, but when we wished to do so, apparently there was only 1 room to use for dozens of departing tourists. After quite a while and some complaints, they did offer us use of another room, but not willingly.

The staff in the information area elsewhere on the resort were pleasant and helpful.

For the prices they charge and the monopoly they have, we did expect better service.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank OntarioJackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2008

We arrived at the Desert Gardens around mid day,the bus picks everybody up from the airport,so if you are travelling as a couple,one should head for reception after disembarking the coach and the other should wait and deal with the cases,that way you can avoid a huge queue to get checked in.
Once checked in and making you way to your room,you may get a slightly negative feeling about the standard of your accommodation.The hotel exterior is not that pretty,and our walk up two flights of bird stained stairs,already had us a bit unsure.
On arrival into the room,a quick look under the bed,revealed 3 empty water bottles and a dirty pair of socks left by previous occupants,so you do worry a bit as to trhe standard of housekeeping.
The room however was of a good size,2 queen sized beds,with colourful top cover,there was good lighting in the room,table and chairs,tea and coffee making facilities,mini fridge,iron and ironing board,and complimentary dressing gowns hung in the wardrobe for use.The bathroom had a large walk in shower,and a hairdryer was supplied,however there was no safety deposit box in the room,this was based at reception and was free of charge.
As like most people we were only here for 2 nights,so we decided to make the best of it,rather than possibly pay extra for a room that was not much better.
The complex is in the desert,overall it is unatractive and overpriced,however with a captive audience voyages can get away with charging premium prices for not too high a standard.
Breakfast at the white gums restauraunt would set you back 30 dollars per head,however to be fair their lunch menu after 11 30 was much more reasonably priced. You can use the facilities of all the hotels in the complex however Gecko's cafe appeared to be one of the most popular eating places,with main meals costing around 30 dollars on average.
There is a well stocked supermarket on site and we found this to be the the best option,for both breakfast and lunch time,we just purchased what we needed and had it in our room.
Desert gardens has a small pool,a few sunbeds,and loads of complimentary towels by the pool, NOW a big eye opener is hidden in both the ladies and gents toilets around the pool,they have Molton Brown hand soap and hand cream!!! we would never have expected this product to be in the toiletry dispensers of such a remote hotel,top city hotels yes,here never..
We had pre booked the sound of silence dinner back home in the uk,and on the night we went,there must have been nearly 200 people,apart from seeing uluru,this was the highlight of our trip,and at a cost of around 150 dollars each,this was value and memorible,the whole evening lasted around 5 hours and by the time we were picked up around 10.30 pm the desert air was really cold,<if you intend to go take warm clothing with you>
Overall the desert gardens is basic accommodation,trading in a fairly difficult enviroment,serving a means to an end,if you want o visit ayres rock then use this hotel,or alternativley use the sails in the desert hotel<more expensive> however several people we spoke to said this accommodation was not that much better.
One last thing,check out time is 10 am,give yourself plenty of time,or again be prepared to wait in a fairly lenghty queue.
As always if I can be of any help,please feel free to e mail me at alfiebear1950@hotmail.com.
Happy holidaying..

Alistair Allan

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Alistair A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2008

We stayed at the Desert Gardens for 1 night. The room was fine and clean but had a tired feel about it and could do with some basic repairs (eg the mosquito netting on the door was broken with gaps). Also the stairs and walkways needs to be tidied up as dead leaves etc were just left.

We knew that we would have had an early start to get to Ayers Rock so one of the deciding factors for choosing this hotel was the selection of restaurants – snacks to Al Carte, however this was not the case, only the Al carte restaurant is available and whilst the food was good it wasn’t cheap.

In the centre (between Emu Apartments & Sail in the sand) there is a restaurant/ snack bar, a take away, post office and supermarket as well as the usual souvenir shops.

Everything in this resort from the hotels to gift shops and supermarkets etc is owned by Voyages and I believe the lack of competition has led to complacency and increased costs.

Despite this and the fact that you will need to stay in one of their hotels please let this put you off of visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock) as it is a fantastic experience. We did a 2 day tour with Australian Pacific Tours (APT) and this includes a guide who was very knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend including both sunset and sunrise. It was extremely cloudy for our sunset so the views were quite so good; however the next morning sunrise was fantastic, even though we had to get up at 4.30am!!

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank mm29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2008

As previous reviews have stated Urulu is all about the location and not the hotel. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of those truly magnificient world class locations - well worth the trip. We stayed 3 nights at Desert Gardens - owned by the Voyages Group (everything at the Uluru village is), plus there was a considerable price reduction if you stayed 3 nights.

The lack of competition shows -the rooms are satisfactory, but expensive. They are a good size and functional with pleasant views - the decor is a little dated. The food and beverage side of the operation needs work - very expensive and poor price value, with one exception - that being Gecko's Cafe in the Resort Shopping Centre (good pizzas). After experiencing expensive continental breakfasts we went to the supermarket and purchased breakfast components - sat on the balcony and soaked in the wonderful landscape content in knowing that we had made significant savings. The staff were friendly and helpful, going out of there way to please. The Sounds of Silence Dinner was very expensive - the location is some distance from the Rock - in fact the distant views of Kata Tjuta and the actual sunset are better. The food was acceptable given that they are catering remotely. Sitting under the stars was lovely but you pay a hefty premium for the priviledge. The final insult was a 1% surcharge for using a credit card to settle the bill.

Long after you have forgotten the shortfall of the hotel the wonder and awe of this location will live on. If Voyages could lift its game then this would be an outstanding total experience.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Geddes_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2008

Chalets spread out over the desert - nice idea but poorly signposted. We had a wonderful outlook over the bush. Room OK but no way of turning off sound of bathroom airconditioning. Lights over bed designed to shine into your eyes, avoiding your book.
Expensive restaurant with no alternative, not even bar meals - disgraceful, especially as there is only one, packed, albeit pretty good, cafe in the Resort Village - book early!

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Packhorse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2008

This hotel is ok. I was pleased it was clean and no insects. It is basic but it has everything you''ll need. It cost us 160 pounds a night for the room. It is not worth paying any extra for a higher class hotel; it is all run by Voygers and they have the monopoly on everything. The food is poor so do not waste too much money.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Minnievisit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Address: Yulara Drive, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia
Region: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > Yulara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Price Range: £165 - £320 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 218
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is a superior hotel at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs are the setting for this hotel. Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is centrally located to all resort and touring facilities and offers a range of accommodation, from shaded poolside rooms to deluxe rooms overlooking the desert.You can relax in the comfort of your own private balcony or courtyard, or unwind in the hotel's pool, sipping cocktails from the Bunya bar. It's only a short stroll to the Resort's numerous lookouts, where you can view what is arguably Australia's best sunset, with the spectacular play of colours across the face of Uluru and the surrounding desert. Once the sun has set, dine at Arnguli Grill and savour an a la carte flame grilled menu. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Hotel Yulara
Hotel Desert Gardens
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort Australia/Yulara

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